VMworld is an event that highlights the latest and greatest in technology from VMware, but it is also a place where rivals show off their competitive wares. One such rival is enterprise Linux vendor Red Hat, which is demoing its upcoming CloudForms 2.1 cloud management technology today at the VMware VMworld event in San Francisco.
CloudForms is a technology that enables hybrid cloud management. Red Hat first began building the technology in May 2011, and it has evolved significantly since then. A key step in the evolution of CloudForms came earlier this year when Red Hat formally acquired management software vendor ManageIQ for $104 million, bolstering Red Hat's cloud management feature set.
Chris Wells, product marketing manager for CloudForms at Red Hat, explained to eWEEK that the CloudForms 2.0 technology, which was released in April 2013, also includes the rebranded ManageIQ components. He added that CloudForms 2.1, which is being demonstrated at VMworld as a beta, will further extend the ManageIQ technology benefits into the Red Hat portfolio with updates to Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization interoperability and OpenStack integration.
The Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform became generally available in July of this year. CloudForms 2.1 can run workload discovery, delegated power operations and automated event capture in OpenStack. It also includes self-service provisioning and reporting support, according to Wells.
CloudForms 2.1 will also include an event capture capability, Xavier Lecauchois, principal product manager for CloudForms at Red Hat, told eWEEK. With the event capture, CloudForms can correlate the captured information to the affected managed elements and provide end-user information about that event, raise alerts or act on those events to drive policy enforcements.
OpenStack is a multi-stakeholder open-source effort for building a cloud platform. Multiple vendors, including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Rackspace Cisco, SUSE and Canonical, are all building their own respective OpenStack distributions. In principal, vendors that build OpenStack distributions that match the open-source project should be interoperable in many respects. As it turns out though, the CloudForms 2.1 beta is not applicable to any generic OpenStack distribution.
"For the CloudForms 2.1 Release, the support is specific to Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform," Wells said. "While we are primarily using generic APIs that could potentially be mapped over to another vendor's version of OpenStack, there are some capabilities that are specific to Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform."
Wells noted that the key area of contention is in event management, which provides the alerting and control capabilities. In his view, that is an area that is more or less vendor-specific until the event integration is done in Ceilometer. Ceilometer is an emerging project for metering within OpenStack that is set to become part of the next major release of OpenStack (code-named Havana) in the fall of this year.
Though management interoperability across different OpenStack distributions is still on the roadmap, CloudForms 2.1 can be used to manage VMware vSphere and ESXi hosts. CloudForms 2.1 also supports Amazon EC2, enabling provisioning, capacity and lifecycle management.
While Red Hat's CloudForms technology is now being integrated with its OpenStack efforts, the same cannot be said for the company's platform-as-a-service (PaaS) efforts.
"Integration between CloudForms and OpenShift is a future roadmap item," Wells said.
Red Hat's OpenShift PaaS is currently available in both online and on-premises versions. From a competitive perspective, VMware's CloudFoundry PaaS, which is now being developed by VMware spin-off Pivotal, announced a collaboration with OpenStack vendor Piston last week.
At the VMworld event this year, a big new release from VMware will be its NSX network virtualization platform. Wells noted that CloudForms 2.1 does not extend into network virtualization.
"We are looking at several options, including projects incubating in the OpenStack community, to provide this capability in the future," Wells said.
CloudForms 2.1 is expected to be made generally available by Red Hat in the fall of 2013.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.